Adventurous 10-Day Costa Rican Vacation

A 10 day trip to Costa Rica 
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Whether you are a nature enthusiast, a thrill-seeker, or a family that is thirsty for a new adventure, your customizable, best of Costa Rica tour celebrates the diversity of the landscape and the mysteries of the wildlife. Soar above the wilderness on a zipline and discover the sounds of the jungle in the early morning. Traverse the cloud forest canopy on hanging bridges and glide across rivers where you can find caiman and roseate spoonbills. Adventurous trails lead to spectacular, volcanic panoramas and tranquil, crystal-clear water that will provide views to passing whitetip reef sharks that will capture the essence of Costa Rica and the splendor of your luxurious experience.

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General Information

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Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

San Jose, Corcovado National Park, Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve, Selvatura, Arenal, La Paz, Cano Negro Wildlife Refuge, Sierpe, Palmar Sur, Cano Island

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: San Jose – Arrive in the Capital of Costa Rica with an Introductory Tour

The capital of Costa Rica moves at its own pace, capturing the essence of the country’s distinct culture as it spreads throughout the mixture of captivating museums, enchanting architecture, famous art galleries, and bustling night life. The Central Market will embody the country’s traditions with over 200 vendors that sell bright produce that is harvested from around the country. The museums will showcase the heritage of Costa Rica with exhibits focusing on marvelous jade and gold artifacts.

Your private transfer will meet you at Juan Santamaria International Airport upon your arrival and escort you to a gorgeous hotel San Jose. After settling into the comforts of your luxury accommodation, your guide will greet you in the lobby eager to introduce to the cultural history of San Jose at Barrio Amón. The distinct neighborhood will represent the lavish customs of former coffee barons who erected homes around the turn of the twentieth century. The pleasant ambiance derives from the revitalized mansions that are painted with tropical colors and depict a variety of architectural aesthetics, including Victorian and art deco styles. New restaurants, cafes, and boutique hotels have given the neighborhood a fresh, youthful vibrancy for locals to enjoy.

What’s Included: airport transfer, accommodation

Day 2: Corcovado – Transfer to the Rainforest for an Immersive Experience

In the morning, the aroma of freshly brewed coffee will drift through the dining room of your hotel. Before transferring to a luxurious lodge near Corcovado National Park, your private transfer will lead you to a family-run coffee plantation to learn about the history and traditions of a working plantation in Costa Rica. Your guide will show you the famous bushes that smell of jasmine, where you will find small, red berries growing alongside the luscious leaves. You can taste a berry to find a sweet, tart flavor before learning how the framers dry and roast the berries to resemble the notorious coffee bean. In the tasting room, your guide will brew two cups of coffee for you with beans harvested on the plantation. You will sip the coffee from a spoon and notice the sweet, bitter, and sour notes on your palate as cinnamon and caramel flavors accompany them.

After the tour, your private transfer will escort you to the airport for your brief flight to the Palmar Sur, which will provide a scenic view of the surrounding landscape. Through the window, you will have a view of the expansive greenery of the Central Valley as it rolls into foothills of the surrounding volcanic peaks. You will arrive in the sleepy village of Sierpe that rises out of the banks of the Rio Sierpe. The main square will host a collection of unique pre-Columbian stone spheres that date back to the seventh century AD. A private boat will take you along the water of the Pacific coast to reach your stunning accommodation that will be tucked away into the hidden beauty of the tropical jungle. 

What’s Included: transfer, accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 3: Corcovado – Enjoy a Guided Hike in Corcovado National Park

Your guide will meet you in the lobby after breakfast interested in introducing you to the enchanting ambiance and fantastic natural history of Corcovado National Park on a private hiking tour. The protected area encompasses 163 square miles that overtakes nearly half of the Osa Peninsula and accounts for the most extensive lowland tropical rainforest in Central America. As you walk along the trails, your guide will point out signs of Baird’s tapirs, jaguars, and red-backed squirrel monkeys. You can hear the guttural, cacophonous calls of the howler monkeys, whose particular shout carries up to three miles through the jungle. They often shout to other troops when they mark their territory or when searching for members of their group.

The dense canopy supports over 400 species of birds, including the endangered scarlet macaw. The wildlife is most active in the cool morning air as the breeze from the ocean sweeps into the trees. You will reach a point known for hosting scarlet macaws. Here, you will be able to hear the low-pitched and throaty squawk of a flock of birds. Their gorgeous plumage will stand out from the leafy canopy as their vibrant, scarlet feathers glow a light blue, yellow, and navy hue that will capture the combination of the beauty and ruggedness of nature.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 4: Corcovado – Discover Natural and Historical Treasures at Cano Island

In the morning, you will board a boat at your hotel’s private dock and venture over the Pacific waters to Cano Island, located approximately 10.5 miles from the mainland coastline. The scent of salt water will drift through the air as you approach the dynamic island that contains marvelous wildlife and signs of ancient settlements in the form of remarkable stone spheres. Evergreen, rubber, and cocoa trees thrive on the island and provide a nesting grounds for black hawks and cattle egret.

You will put on your snorkel before jumping into the water for a guided tour of the aquatic life that brims around the colorful coral reef. The cobalt water is crystal clear with views of up to 20 feet. A school of small whitetip reef sharks may circle the reef, keeping close to the bottom of the seafloor. The species is almost exclusively found in the Pacific Ocean along the edges of Central America. The shark can grow to over five feet long and have sleek, small bodies that resemble torpedoes with a white tip atop their dorsal fins. Viewing the shark around the coral reef is a safe and majestic experience that will embody the grace and history of the subaquatic world of Costa Rica. 

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 5: Arenal – Travel to Arenal and Relax in the Thermal Springs

At breakfast, the aroma of fresh watermelon juice will fade beneath the comforting scent of the sea breeze. The calls of howler monkeys once again will echo through the trees before the tropical heat sets in. Your private transfer will meet you at the hotel dock and escort you back to Palmar Sur to begin the journey to the famous region of Arenal. The elegant jade colors of the rainforest will sweep across the base of the active volcano that provides sustenance for nearly 640 different species of birds.

After arriving at your accommodations, the remainder of the day will be at your leisure to indulge in the soothing waters of the natural hot springs.. The different pools connected with your resort can reach up to 105 degrees Fahrenheit and can get as cool as 72 degrees. The water will soothe your skin as it carries a combination of medicinal minerals that are absorbed from the volcanic soil. The waters have been known to have a few health remedies, helping to ease muscle soreness as well as leaving the skin silky smooth. 

What’s Included: transfer, accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 6: Arenal – Explore the Remarkable Foothills of Arenal Volcano

Your day exploring the lavish surroundings of El Silencio Mirador Nature Reserve will begin in the afternoon when your guide will lead you to the El Silencio Trail. The protected area encompasses 555 acres, including 250 acres of primary forest. The tropical landscape will shimmer with a vibrant emerald hue. As you venture through the valley, you will hear the calls of keel-billed toucans. Their large, colorful beaks contain lime green, blue, and bright orange that is set against a crimson-red tip and is also contrasted against a yellow breast and jet-black plumage. You may be lucky enough to see one as they hunt for fruits, insects, and other meals throughout the day.

The combination of dense forest, cattle pasture, and lava fields embodies the brilliant diversity of the scenery and provides endless scenery to explore. The familiar calls of howler monkeys will return as the heat of the afternoon subsides. Your guide will point into trees at boa constrictors that resemble dangling vines. The infamous reptile lives in forests up to 3,280 feet above sea level, mainly along the Pacific and Atlantic slopes. Their thick, long bodies grow to an average of nearly 10 feet long. As you walk, the scenery will open as you reach the observation point, which will provide a sensational view of the Arenal Volcano’s lava flow. The glistening black rocks of the lava field will scatter across the foothills that lead upwards along the jagged ridges of the slopes and will reminiscent of the endless eruption of Arenal that lasted from 1968 to 2010.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 7: Arenal – Delight in an Expedition into the Cano Negro Wildlife Refuge

The wildlife of Costa Rica will highlight the importance of the nation’s eco-friendly approach to tourism and politics as you travel miles away from the Nicaraguan border to explore a portion of Cano Negro Wildlife Refuge’s 25,000 acres of wetlands, rainforest, and swampland. You will board a boat and travel up the wetlands in search of the famous wildlife of the region. You may even be lucky enough to spot a curious roseate spoonbill digging on the muddy banks of the river.

This unique bird can stand up to 34 inches tall with a wingspan of 52 inches long. Their rosy, pink plumage contrasts with the lush trees and rusty riverbanks, which accentuate the distinctive shape of their bills. The tranquil atmosphere will fill with the sounds of twittering birds and the gentle ripples of the flowing water. You may even spot a plumed basilisk resting on a branch or emerging from the water, though this lizard can stay submerged in water for up to 30 minutes.  You may also have the opportunity to see a brown-throated, three-toed sloth. Their fur nearly blends in with the colors of the forest, so they can be difficult to spot. They can grow up to 18 inches tall and are known for moving very slowly whether in the canopy or on the forest floor switching trees. Due to their very slow and docile nature, predators assume the sloth is actually a bundle of leaves.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 8: Monteverde – Venture to Monteverde Cloud Forest to Tour the Reserve

After breakfast, you will travel by boat across Lake Arenal. The water will glisten cobalt blue as the boat leads away from the shoreline, offering a spectacular view of the looming volcanic peak. Fishers will explore the lake in the cool hours of the day as they hope to catch some rainbow bass or machaca. The panoramic view of the water, rainforest, and volcanic summit will offer a unique perspective on the natural grandeur of Arenal before the boat docks and you board a private vehicle bound for the stunning scenery of Monteverde. The wildlife sanctuary consists of 25,946 acres of privately-owned land that straddles the unique scenery along the continental divide.

A collection of trails wind through landscape and will offer stunning views of 400 different bird species and 3,000 plant species. Five hundred species of orchid thrive in the landscape and receive moisture from the mist that moves through the trees throughout the day while patches of moss help retain the water along the tree branches and forest floor. You will also have the opportunity to view a resplendent quetzal, which is a rare bird known for its iridescent plumage and refusal to breed in captivity. Their graceful tailfeather can reach up to 26 inches long.

What’s Included: transfer, accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 9: Monteverde – Traverse the Treetops of Monteverde with a Canopy Tour

In the morning, you will make your way into the treetops with your naturalist guide, exploring the unique properties of Monteverde’s Cloud Forest. Your discovery will begin on the trail, winding through the hills and over the canyons that span over two miles and are complete with eight hanging bridges that reach nearly 578 feet long, collectively.

An herby aroma will originate from the surrounding ferns as your guide will explain the important biodiversity of the cloud forest in Monteverde. You will also stop to admire a troop of white-faced capuchin monkeys that run through the canopy quite often. They nest in elevations up to 4,921 above sea level and forage for bird or lizard eggs, as well as fruits, flowers, and insects. Their tails can grow up to 22 inches long and help them balance as they scurry across narrow branches or swing through the trees.

The adventure through the treetops will continue with a zipline excursion that crosses nine cables and reaches up to 456 feet above the forest floor. This unique way to travel will remind you of the monkeys that rush through the trees, or of the birds that soar above the canopy as you glide along the cable. Your remarkable view of the forest terrain will provide images of orchids that grow in the shade of the treetops, as well as howler monkeys that are snacking on barriers and screeching when they hear you approach.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 10: Monteverde – Depart for Home

At breakfast, the bright red glow of fresh watermelon will complement the aroma of the fresh coffee that is made from beans sourced from a local plantation. You will be in awe of the 50 different species of butterflies that flutter around the domed enclosure in Monteverde, where you witnessed the sensational design of the glasswing butterfly. The distinct features include transparent wings with a colorful border that resembles stained glass. Their wingspan can reach nearly two and a half inches wide and reveals a remarkable, yet seemingly delicate nature. After breakfast, your private transfer will meet you at the hotel and escort you to Juan Santamaria International Airport in San Jose for your return flight home.

What’s Included: airport transfer, breakfas

Price

Price 

Your custom trip package will include accommodations, transportation within the country, guided tours and activities, unique experiences, trip planning, and 24x7 support during your trip.

Please inquire for a custom trip quote based on your travel preferences and travel dates.